Intro

https://www.amazon.com/Surfing-Tsunami-Introduction-Artificial-Intelligence/dp/1976756340
(Available on Amazon)

Adapt, Adopt, Adept


(60 second summary of Introduction) 


Artificial intelligence (AI) will have a significant impact on the job market, and in response I invite you to consider adopting at least one of these three perspectives:

    1. Adapt (good): learn more and pay attention; keep aware of where things are headed
    2. Adopt (better): adopt AI-related tools and platforms, so you can be involved in managing AI
    3. Adept (best): get directly involved with developing AI, by learning coding and how to work with related data 

Introduction

It took almost a year for the full implications of AI to hit me. But it doesn’t need to take you a year, you can just read this book. And I am not sure you can afford a year anyway - advances and announcements have been happening at an increasing pace.


One of the things that got my attention was how a small team at Google connected the Google Translate app to a deep neural network. They achieved a greater advance in six months with AI than the advances they had made in the last decade. Google was already a world leader in the accuracy of machine translation, and the results from deep learning and neural networks defied their greatest expectations. Practically speaking it was a huge advance in the accuracy of computer translation of human language, and it came from the rapidly increasing power of artificial intelligence.


In Chapter 1, On My Radar, I'll talk more about how artificial intelligence got on my radar and why it should get on yours, and we'll take a look at the way that artificial intelligence relates to automation. 


In Chapter 2, What is AI Up To, we'll review the various ways that artificial intelligence has been transforming society behind the scenes, and how it is poised to come to the forefront.


I'm convinced that AI and automation will have a huge impact on the job market, and that's what motivated me to take it very seriously and write this book. In case you need convincing to take AI seriously, Chapter 3 is especially for you - I review a number of the influences, articles, studies and analysis that convinced me.


I would actually feel a sense of relief if I came across data that convinced me I could just hang loose and go back to what I was doing before, minding my own business. There are certainly people who feel like the impact will be mostly positive: they often refer to past industry transformations and imply this one will be the same, where jobs will change, and some will be lost, but others will be created. Some believe that overall more jobs will be created by AI than exist today, and I haven't seen evidence of this. To me the data seems to be pointing in the other direction: that there will be significant net job loss in the next 5-20 years. (But if you have any data that points to the contrary, please send it my way!)


To be clear, I am neither for or against AI. The conversation can be polarized, with people on one side who look primarily at its benefits, and people on the other side who are alarmed at some of the potential impacts. I still remain somewhat neutral, but over the course of the last year I've been taking it increasingly seriously. 

 

The main idea of this book has two dimensions: First, I invite you to take AI very seriously, and second, I invite you to think of your response to AI as an adventure. No matter how AI disrupts and impacts our world, I believe you can make this journey of your own choosing. (And if you find yourself alarmed by the data, as I did at first, I invite you to choose to live in readiness, not fear.)


In Chapters 4-6, I invite you to choose to:

  • Adapt (good): keep an eye on things; keep yourself informed; and see what happens. You might get lucky, but you might want to review the evidence and seriously consider getting ready to . . . 
  • Adopt (better): you can adopt AI platforms and automation tools as they arise, and hopefully be the ones who manage AI and automation, until the management itself is automated; or in such a place where there is an ongoing need for human interaction. But given the fact that there don’t seem to be any limits on what can be automated, it stands to reason that if AI continues to increase in sophistication; sooner or later someone will find a way to automate x, y and z; and eventually there will be a product or service available that could replace ________. So I believe you may want to consider becoming an . . . 
  • Adept (best): yes, I am suggesting that you seriously consider becoming adept and involved in AI in some way. Maybe the data will convince you to take me seriously. Maybe if you fall into the same camp as I do, asking yourself “how could I ever do that?” . . . you might end being convinced by the data of considering another possibility: “how could I ever not do that?”

For what it's worth, I started my own journey simply by adapting, keeping an eye on things, and I kept thinking - "ok, maybe I can set this aside and mind my own business, and just keep doing what I was doing." But as I kept learning more, it convinced me that I needed to seriously consider being more pro-active, including exploring how to adopt AI in my field (digital marketing). Eventually as a picture formed of where things are headed and how big the disruption will be, the data convinced me to seriously consider becoming an "adept". It didn't happen overnight, but that is where I am at right now, reading books, and just about to register for a programming course, something I wouldn't have considered a year ago.


My journey took a year, but your journey might take as little as the time it takes to read this book, and some additional articles and books. And I'm saying, take AI seriously, now. Look at the data, especially in Chapter 3, read through chapters 4 through 6, and start at the "adapt" stage, by developing the habits of keeping an eye on things, looking at news sources, reading a book or two to get better acquainted. 


Then, as soon as you're ready, I strongly recommend joining me in exploring things more closely, and seeing how you can become more adept in AI. No matter what your background is, you can do it. And I believe you should do it. In Chapter 7, we look closer at tools and schools of thought in AI - what is driving artificial intelligence, including deep learning, neural networks, the field of data science, and machine learning. 


And then in Chapter 8, I review some options for next steps: books to read, courses you can take (including free online courses), and some suggestions on where you can plug-in, based on what you know right now.


Ok, so are you ready to start?


Ok, go!


No Alpha Go, that is.


-Todd


P.S. Alpha Go represents the convergence of the ancient game of Go, and a significant advance in AI, which gained a lot of attention, especially in China. To learn more about it, try searching "alpha go" on www.wikipedia.org

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